Pirates likely to non-tender Zach Duke this offseason

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Once upon a time Zach Duke went 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA as a 22-year-old rookie, but in the five seasons since then he’s 36-66 with a 4.74 ERA while allowing the highest opponents’ batting average of any pitcher with at least 120 starts.
And now it looks like his Pirates career is coming to a close.
Duke failed to make it out of the second inning against the Braves yesterday, falling to 7-13 with a 5.47 ERA, and Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that “indications are powerful” the Pirates will non-tender the 27-year-old southpaw rather than risk having to give him a raise on this season’s $4.3 million salary via arbitration.
John Russell removed Duke from the game without saying a word to him in the second inning and afterward the manager told reporters, simply: “He didn’t have much. Not much else you can say.”

Rays acquire RHP Drew Smith from Tigers

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The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.

Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.

Yankees activate Didi Gregorius from the disabled list

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The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.

Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.

Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.